“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Impaired people

At the disability Sunday program at my church mentioned in the previous two entries, I was one of the speakers. At one point in the service, I asked all of the people in the room who had some kind of mental or physical impairment to raise their hand. I don't know what I thought about the numbers of people in a room who would have an impairment, but it appeared to be well over 50% of the group in each of the three services. I was surprised. I then talked about the teasing kids get as kids about wearing glasses, or any other difference they might experience. It seemed to me that really connected with the audience as they were finally seeing what the experience might be like to be teased, or even devalued by a society that doesn't tolerate differences. They don't tolerate difference even though (judging by my church, and the average types of people who attend there and extrapolating to the larger population) they themselves have impairments, have disabilities. It was very eye opening to me.

Mark Brown, talked about the image of God in a way that really connected as well. He spoke in reference to Toby Hoff, who had presented earlier in the program and who uses a wheelchair. He said, you might see him as a man in a wheelchair, but God sees him as one created in the image of God and crowned with the honor and glory that comes with representing that image.

The service ended with Mark inviting people to identify with those with disabilities and to evidence their solidarity by coming forward and standing around a table set with bread and a glass of juice where individuals with disabilities were already sitting. Just about the whole congregation came forward and joined at the table, spilling down onto the floor just before the stage. It was very powerful as many among those who came forward were weeping or very emotional. I felt as if the connection had been successfully made between people with and without impairments and people with various disabilities. It was very powerful. I was surprised as the wonderful response from the congregation.

Our question, is what to do next with this outpouring of love and support from our congregation. First of all I think God will bless them for their response, He is working in their hearts. But where to we go next, what do we do with this outpouring as a church. I am looking forward with anticipation to see where our leaders will take us. Please keep our church in your prayers.


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